Operations 101: The Value of Vacation Rental Inspectors

Koryn Okey
Koryn Okey

November 16, 2023

Welcome to the fourth installment of Operations 101: The Value of Inspectors. Next week, we’ll share our final insight for you to consider as you focus on improving your business’ operational efficiency. We’ve enlisted the help of industry veteran, Steve Craig, who will be weighing in from his 42 years of experience building world-class housekeeping teams.

There are generally three ways to work with cleaners: 1) in-house employees, 2) subcontractors, or 3) a mix of the two. There has been an age-old debate about if one is better, but each has its own pros and cons.

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Everything you need to know about the role of a Vacation Rental Inspector

Why do I need an inspector?

Everyone understands the importance of quality cleaners for your vacation rental business, but only some understand the value of having Inspectors on their team. 

One reason for this could be that they don’t understand what an inspector does and why it’s essential. So let’s start there: Inspectors are Quality Assurance staff - they check the work of others to make sure it is accurate and aligns with your brand standards.

Other reasons for not having inspectors vary, but common themes are:

  • Some feel they cannot afford to hire an inspector because they do not need a full-time role.

  • Many believe inspection is not necessary and believe if you pay a cleaner a top wage to do a departure clean it should not need to be inspected.

  • Others believe incoming guests (or owners) will let them know if the property was not cleaned properly (they will, but this should not be your plan!).

  • Even more don’t understand what duties an inspector should perform.

It’s important to note: companies with the fewest number of guest issues are inspecting 100% of departure cleans, as well as, sending inspectors before arrival. Inspection is of great value.

Let’s dig into the value inspectors can have and how you can consider adding this role to your team!

How many inspectors do I need?

This greatly depends on how many same-day departures you have, the drive time between properties, and how big each home is. It’s possible for an inspector to do 12 condos if they are all in the same building, with no drive time and smaller (think: studio or 1 bedroom units). But on the Outer Banks, for example, some houses sleep 32 or more and aren’t close to one another, so that inspector may only be able to do 1-2 homes in a day. Remember: they are limited due to arrival times.

Do I call a cleaner back if not cleaned properly?

Absolutely!! Even if it’s later in the day. Allowing a cleaner to be paid for poor work will make their work even more unacceptable in the future. But, your call-back procedure should not involve leaving correction lists in the unit. Too often guests get to these before the inspectors, which surely will result in more problems.

Screenshot platform 2Breezeway's digital checklists help verify detailed work from cleaners and inspectors.

What if I only need an inspector on weekends or even just one day a week?

This shouldn’t be a problem. Lots of people are looking for part-time work or have limited availability. There are a couple of ways you could handle this. 

    1. Hire someone who is part-time. If you pay well, part-timers can be readily available.

    2. Utilize this person to do work outside of inspections. They could also help with reservations or laundry. And, don’t forget, there can be other inspection types besides departure clean inspections:

      1. Spiffs (tidying up a unit before arrival if the property has been sitting empty, typically for more than 7 days)

      2. Deliveries to guests

      3. Housewares inventory

Screenshot platform

Breezeway automatically schedules turnovers so you never miss a clean

Should I have the inspector enter the unit to check for damages prior to the arrival of the housekeeper?

Many do this, but it’s not recommended. There’s no reason an inspector is more competent to check for damages than the housekeeper and they will already be in the unit. It should be the responsibility of a housekeeper to report damages (and it’s super easy to do in Breezeway’s mobile app!). Plus, a housekeeper touches almost everything on a departure clean so they will know what to report.

If I cannot inspect 100% of our departures, what should I do?

Prioritize your inspections and consider these suggestions to find the right mix for your business.

  • Always inspect new cleaners.

  • Always inspect the most profitable houses you have or perhaps the most “particular” owners.

  • If you have cleaners who have demonstrated their ability to do good work without daily inspections, focus on those who need it. You can always add inspections to these folks when time allows.

If I have a cleaning subcontractor, do I need my own inspectors?

This depends on the agreement with your contractor. If your agreement with them has two fees: a cleaning fee and an inspection fee, you don’t. They are expected to inspect 100% of the cleans. If a guest or owner has an issue, they will not get paid the inspection fee. If your agreement does not include an inspection fee, you should consider enlisting someone to do this.

How do I schedule inspectors?

An inspection typically either follows the completion of the cleaning or is scheduled for the next arrival. If you’re utilizing Breezeway, you can create an Automated Workflow to automatically schedule the Inspection at the right time (and this can vary if there’s a checkout vs a same-day turnover). Plus, after the cleaning is completed, the inspector will automatically be notified via email, text, or push notification that the unit is ready for them to inspect, reducing confusion around when to enter a property. 

In our final installment of Opertions 101, we’ll discuss creating a Standard Linen Program, how to best launder your linens, and when to consider investing in your own laundry facility. In the meantime, if you have specific housekeeping questions, please email community@breezeway.io and we’ll cover them in a future post!

Free Vacation Rental Inspection Checklist
Ensure your properties are 100% guest ready for every check in
Download Now